Obama's "Free Trade" Agenda
Reprinted from The Worker, newspaper of the Workers Party, USA, February 18, 2015
Obama wants to re-authorize “fast-track” trade promotion authority in order to push the Trans-Pacific-Partnership Agreement through Congress. This would limit Congressional powers to ratification or rejection of the secret treaty with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The TPP would be a NAFTA-like trade and investment agreement for facilitating the flow of U.S. goods and capital into other countries.
In a January 29 Op-Ed in the New York Times Vice-President Biden underscored that Latin American NAFTA-like deals remain high on the agenda of the Democratic Party leadership as well.
Obama’s “free trade” program of “increasing U.S. competitiveness” is a program of restructuring U.S. industry by downsizing the workforce and slashing wages.
The unhappy consequences of this program include: increasing the exploitation of the U.S. workers to the maximum, relocating U.S. factories to countries where wages are low, and increasing U.S. monopoly capital’s domination of the economies of other countries.
Of course, the capitalists and their politicians look at the problem of the worldwide economic crisis from the angle of their own class aims. They are not concerned about the fact that tens of millions of workers have no jobs, no means of a livelihood; they’re not concerned about the fact that tens of millions cannot afford the basic necessities. Their only concern is with maximizing their profits. In fact the big monopolies see in the growing poverty, economic insecurity and exploitation, a good means to increase their domination and their profits.
Today, the entire world capitalist market is glutted as a result of overproduction. In this situation each set of national capitalists (for example American, Chinese, German, etc.) are trying to further penetrate and dominate the markets of other capitalists in order to maximize their own profit. But in the struggle between competing national capitalists, victory goes to the capitalists who are able to increase the exploitation of their own workers to the maximum, who are able to produce the maximum amount at the lowest cost.
For their part, the workers are resisting this capitalist offensive, fighting against wage-cutting and union-busting, against cutbacks in social investments and the privatization of public services. In addition, the demand of the workers is that everyone be guaranteed the RIGHT TO A JOB OR A LIVELIHOOD.
To take the initiative into their own hands, the workers must come into the political arena on a country-wide basis. The capitalists, relying on their state power, are waging a concerted and organized struggle to drive the workers into the dirt and throw our country backwards. The workers too must respond by organizing themselves as an independent political force on the basis of their own aims and agenda. The workers agenda must include not only resisting the capitalist offensive but also taking the counter-offensive in order to win all their inalienable economic and political rights.